After promising a few months ago that mass production would begin in early 2019, the folks at Smach have started posting a series of YouTube videos showing off gameplay on a Smach Z Alpha prototype.
One video showcases GTA V and Firewatch. Another looks at Cuphead, Nuclear Throne, and Downwell, and a third features strategy games including Age of Empires II, StarCraft II, and Civilization VI.
That last batch of games is probably the group I find most interesting for a few reasons. First, I personally tend to enjoy strategy games more than first-person shooters, roguelikes, and platformers. And second, real-time strategy games like AoE and StarCraft might actually help justify the Smach Z’s controller layout.
While most handheld game systems use PlayStation or Xbox-style controllers, the Smach Z has a controller inspired by Valve’s Steam Controller, with touchpads on the left and right sides.
It’s questionable how useful those touchpads are for titles that are optimized for game controllers. But they could definitely come in handy for PC games that are designed for mouse input… like real-time-strategy games.
The Smach Z features a 6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel touchscreen display, an AMD Ryzen Embedded V1605B processor with Radeon Vega 8 graphics, and it has DisplayPort, USB Type-C, Type-A, and micro USB ports as well as a microSD card reader.
The company says the Smach Z will be “available in 2019,” although there’s no promise of exactly when in 2019. But if you’re feeling lucky (and patient) you can pre-order one for $629 and up. Smach says you can cancel your pre-order if you get tired of waiting.
There are three different configurations up for pre-order:
- Smach Z with 4GB RAM/64GB storage/no camera for $629.10
- Smach Z Pro with 8GB RAM/128GB storage/5MP camera for $809.10
- Smach Z Ultra with 16GB RAM/256GB storage/5MP camera for $989.10
Update 2/15/2019: Here’s a new video showing FPS gaming: